TV shows embrace small town life
In the early weeks of the pandemic (remember those days when quarantine felt like camp at home and we had no plans to talk about COVID two years later?) and then as the 2020 election got out of hand , my wife and I turned to Schitt’s Creek to take our minds off the apocalypse.
That’s how it was for a lot of people. This year’s Virtual Emmys saw a winning streak like no other for “Schitt’s Creek,” which won Outstanding Comedy, as well as trophies for stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, and Dan Levy (not to mention wins for writing and the directing and more).
It was the right show at the right time, and TV Academy voters clearly agreed. The show was fun, well done and of course had some comedy all-stars (throw Chris Elliott into that mix as well). But there was also something about the show’s idyllic setting that felt like salve to fans.
The Rose family bought the Canadian town of Schitt’s Creek for fun, and when they lost everything they were forced to move into the town’s seedy motel. But as the series and its episodes progressed, it turned out that Schitt’s Creek wasn’t so shabby after all. It was a welcoming little town with eccentrics all flocking to the town restaurant and partaking in the area’s quirky traditions.
The pandemic has taught us that we now have the technology to do much of our work virtually anywhere. I know some of you have been working remotely for months from other parts of the country, including Hawaii, and none were the wiser at Zoom. That’s beginning to change, but the dream of a simpler, small-town life remains.
There’s a great tradition of small towns on television, both in comedy and drama. Of course, you can go way back to Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. Small towns are big on spooky TV, including Twin Peaks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and True Blood. Other comedies of recent decades have included My Name Is Earl and of course Pawnee in Parks and Recreation.
Schitt’s Creek is over, but some series continue the tradition. In “Life and Beth,” Amy Schumer’s character finds new life in her small Long Island hometown, while in “Ghosts,” a New York couple inherits a haunted house in the Hudson Valley. “Young Sheldon” is set in a fictional town in East Texas, while “The Conners” continues in Lanford, Illinois, the setting of “Roseanne”.
Other shows that explore various aspects of small-town life include FX’s “Reservation Dogs,” which breaks new ground in portraying Native American teenagers in rural Oklahoma; and Fox’s “Welcome to Flatch,” about the residents of a small Ohio town with an awkward name – akin to, yes, “Schitt’s Creek.”
But this year, I was particularly enchanted by Bridget Everett’s HBO series Somebody Somewhere, which is inspired by Everett’s hometown of Manhattan, Kan. It’s a bit of wish-fulfillment, an America that just seems out of reach right now: Blue and Red, living together in the same city and accepting everyone. The real Manhattan, Kan., is similarly unique, Everett reports: It’s a college town but also near a military base.
“They elected Biden president, but everyone else was red on the ticket,” she says. “It’s conservative, but there are liberals, so it’s a nice balance. You have the military and the university. Football is big, family and community as well. My brother Brad still lives there and is always doing something for someone. They are good people.”
And good television.
https://variety.com/2022/tv/awards/schitts-creek-somebody-somewhere-welcome-to-flatch-small-towns-1235287036/ TV shows embrace small town life